Thursday, January 31, 2008

Songs You Should Know: Self Destruction

In the late 80s emcee, philosopher, now elder statesman KRS-One formed the "Stop the Violence" movement. Obviously he wasn't totally successful in accomplishing the stated goal, much like my own personal "Continue the Sex with TAN" movement, but he/they did end up creating one of the classic songs and videos in hip hop history, "Self Destruction." It is mos def a song you should know:

Instead of the usual blessay about the song and its context -- after all, the context, message etc is self-evident -- we'll just fashion a not-really-live blog of the video:

0:00. How come the songs these days don't have Farrakhan and/or Malcolm X being sampled at the beginning anymore? That used to be a can't miss no-brainer move. Always hot! That's why hip hop is dead now. No Farrakhan intros.

0:10. Guest Stars! Lots of them! How come there's no monstrous posse-cuts with like 10 rappers anymore? That used to be a can't miss no-brainer move. Always hot! That's why hip hop is dead now. No Farrakhan/Malcolm intros, no 10-man posse joints.

0:17. Tell me KRS doesn't regret wearing that, um, jacket now.

0:25. How come there aren't as many clips of black people being harassed and such in videos anymore? It used to be it wasn't a hip hop video until you got some footage of us getting hosed or attacked by dogs. That used to be a can't miss no-brainer move...

0:54. Filmed at the Schomburg Center; I just learned that from this not-so-live blog.

1:00. Hey, where did KRS go? He doesn't come back into the shot. What a bastard, he lectures us on not killing ourselves then just leaves when the next guy comes on? How rude!

1:05. Seems like MC Delite got the shaft so we could get to Kool Moe Dee. That was literally like 5 seconds. He did pretty good though for 5 seconds, the "black on black crime was way before our time" is kind of wise. He'd probably make a good blogger. Also, caucasians, when your grandma asks for a dookie rope chain for christmas, she's talking about what Delite is wearing.

1:20. Kool Moe Dee "never ever ran from the Ku Klux Klan," I wonder why.

1:30. Gotta love how Kool is to kool to bop during the chorus or even look at the camera. What is he doing there? Just thinking about what he said?

1:43. MC Lyte's turn. She was possibly the best female emcee of this era. She's reminding me how the whole "posse cut" concept is particular to hip hop. I don't know why it didn't catch on in a big way. Like We Are the World was a hot posse cut. Why don't we have more of those with real songs? Hip hop mastered that, and I'm realizing right now that there's some special magic in those "golden era" posse songs. I have to mull on this more.

1:48. This is apparently the part where the director is asserting his own sense of "artistry." The purpose of "artistry" is to provoke questions, like: Why is everyone facing the wall? Why does it go from black-and-white to color? What is it that prompts everyone to turn around? We'll probably never know these things, and that's how art is sometimes.

2:06. I love how at this time we still didn't know what to tell the hype men and DJ's to do when they were in videos. They just stood there. And never smiled. Who started the whole "don't smile, cause smiles are for pussies" thing anyway? I'm glad we're over that ... kind of.

2:15. How come hip hop duos don't alternate lines like this anymore? That used to be a can't miss no-brainer for hotness. That's why hip hop is dead now, no quick back-and-forth with the rhymes.

2:30. D-Nice should have been bigger. He looks exactly like Bow Wow. And he's probably more talented. I blame that sweater he's wearing. D would have been huge with the teeny-boppers these days. Plus he could DJ? Pfft. Also, I LOVE the person dancing in the back. Is that a sheepskin they're wearing? That back line is like the late 80s hip hop version of TRL.

3:05. OMG there go the TRL people, and it is a sheepskin! Look at that coat, that is awesome. It's like they put a whole sheep on the jacket to serve as a collar. Man, I remember when having a sheepskin was like having an iphone. Those were simpler times.

3:14. Hmm, That guy kind of looks like a young DL Hughley getting arrested.

3:20. Star Jones Miss Melody... ha. I wonder what she's doing these days. We definitely need a Behind the Music on Miss Melody. She is not easily researched. If someone has the album she dropped, please hit me up.

3:42. Doug E. Fresh. The "moment in silence" line in this was classic. But it's pretty damn funny to think about a real funeral where someone says "let's have a moment in silence" and then starts beatboxing during it. That's highly amusing.

4:00. Doug was less rapper and more of a "vocal choreographer." I love the "And" arrangements here. Good stuff.

4:18. Rolling the statistics on black people was a nice touch. How come they don't run a ticker with statistics on black people in videos anymore? I think CNN and FOX and everyone else stole that from this video.

4:35. I almost forgot how dope Heavy D was. If I didn't know hip hop and had to pick a star who could do tv and movies and stuff from this video it would be him. He jumps off the screen! Also, more stats! This video is like a research paper and dope hip hop song in one. They just don't make 'em like that anymore.

5:26. PUBLIC ENEMY!!! PE was obviously brought in to bring this song home. They're like the ringers of the socially-conscious hip hop anthem set. Knowing the song, I always get giddy during the chorus waiting for Chuck to come on.... "to revolve, TO EVOLVE to self-respect"!

5:50. Ha, must have been the end of the day cause the whole crowd doesn't seem to be into it for the final shot. Maybe some of them, in fact, don't have a big problem with self-destruction. To each his own I guess...

God, I love this song. And if you made it through this not-so-live blog, you know me, and a classic hip hop song a whole lot better. Yay, you! Now go order that dookie rope chain for your grandma.


Monday, January 28, 2008

I Want Richard Cheese To Rape Me

The best thing to come out of my New Years Eve experience was getting put on to Richard Cheese by Dodai (annoying name drop but Jezebel's hot right now, so whatevs). I just dloaded pretty much all of his songs, I can't get enough, but I think this cover of Nirvana's "Rape Me" is my favorite. The sync's not perfect on this but it's the best I could find.

Everybody! Rape Me! Put your hands together! Rape me again! R. A. P. ME. Rape rape rape, rape rape rape rape rape, rape rape rape me!

Here's Nirvana doing the real song. Soooo serious. Whatever:

Aesop Rock: Pigs

Artist: Aesop Rock. If there's a Mt. Rushmore for white alt-intellectual hip hop, he's on it. I like this video, though the time lapse conceit for a full 4:30 is kinda lazy. Can I get one cut-away to a booby or a slam dunk or something? But the final picture's cool! That said, I disagree with Jeff's perfunctory ejaculations(?), and will chalk the superlatives up to caucasian affirmative action. Which is cool. But this vid is certainly not for everyone. And it's not better than your favorite rapper's video if your favorite rapper is any good...

BUT: 5-10 years ago the "not for everyone" sentiment would have been cause for frustration for the artists. Now it's embraced in our "niche new media economy." It's funny that the different context doesn't really change the success level of these indie-alt artists -- Aesop Rock would sell the same in any era -- but it gives them less to complain about. Less whining about "The System," and more looking in the mirror figuring out if you're really connecting with people like that.

blah blah, me smarty-arty negro ...[grunt]... me post video cause I like:

via: the Passion

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Seth Macfarlane: The Negotiating Table

Great funny bit on the strike here:

I like Kat Foster here, she's cute, and has the perfect "overworked" hair going. Just googled her, I didn't realize she was such a fan favorite.

Perfect puppet choices. Great timing throughout. Just well done video. This was written by Family Guy Seth Macfarlane, so the guest celebs keep on rolling at funny or die. They must be winning some sort of prize soon:

I think the "go on..." at the 0:57 mark makes the whole vid. Good stuff ...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Shirts & Skins: The Rooney Rule Is Dead, Long Live The Rooney Rule

TAN makes jokes and broad sweeping generalizations in Shirts & Skins, his weekly exploration of race and sports. His opinions, like this tagline, may change at any moment.

Is there a more beloved head coach in professional sports than Tony Dungy?

Belichick may be a genius, but falls short on the love meter. Ditto Phil Jackson. Joe Torre was beloved, but the bloom is surely off that rose as he heads to LA, Land of Apathetic fans.

But everyone loves Tony (except the gays). And the decision of The Greatest Black NFL Coach Ever to spend at least one more year steering the Colts, along with the recent MLK holiday, and the arrival of the first black GM in the Super Bowl, and, like, Obama, has that sweet smell of melanin in the air. We are living the dream. Holla!

The interesting sidebar to Dungy's Deal or No Deal drama was learning Jim Caldwell, black man, would assuredly be the next coach after him. That would make Caldwell, who's been with him since the TB days, the first "legacy hire" for black head coaches. The minority "old boys network" just put down their first NFL power move! We're moving Jimmy in, and that's that. The ROC is in the building!

It was only a few years ago (2003) that the NFL felt they had to exercise The Rooney Rule, the NFL's affirmative action coaching policy, and fine the Detroit Lions for not interviewing a minority candidate. Now we're up in Super Bowls, and two black assistant coaches you probably never heard of (Tomlin, Caldwell) have come out of nowhere to land high profile gigs. So what does this mean for The Rooney Rule? If black head coaches are starting to walk on their own, is it time to lose the crutches?

This week we're doing a Rooney Review to determine if we are in need of Rooney Reform. There will be other "R" words. We'll also figure out how to tie Tony Dungy back in since that's what I used to lead off this column. After the jump sexy words and exclamation points about NFL affirmative-action policy making. Aw yeah ...

Shirts & Skins: Long Live The Rooney Rule [AOL Fanhouse]

The Guardian: Marching on Washington

Esteemed UK newspaper The Guardian canvassed black America to take the pulse on what Obama means to us. Providing readers an interesting range of opinions, and myself the fortunate opportunity of being able to lump my name with people like Chris Rock, Oprah Winfrey, Angela Davis. Mumia Abu-Jamal, Halle Berry, Barbara Heineback and ... TAN.

In search of an excerptible segment, this was the closest I could find. Best imagined with a British accent of course:

Yet I am aware, with all the rhetoric, that Obama's victory could easily become a curse. A beacon that everyone else points out to demonstrate that things are OK for black people, even though the problems in the community will surely outlast the term of the next president, no matter who it is. So while there is no question that Barack is currently a galvanising symbol of change, until he manifests and enacts that change I think black folks are advised to hedge their bets a little. We don't want him to be our black Band-Aid for wounds that require much more serious treatment.

For some reason the Band-Aid line makes me want to go into Eddie Murphy's banana in the tailpipe routine. "We ain't fallin' for no black president in the tailpipe!"

It's true. We're not.

Anyways, yay. UK in the hizzy. Gonna try and hit some fish-n-chips for lunch today. British chicks, holla at ya lad.

Marching on Washington [The Guardian]

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Trombone Playing Is Dead

Both Gawker and Stereohyped amongst others have pointed out this revelatorily ludicrous video from the rosy-eyed folks at the New York City Tourism Office. I agree, it's amusing. The highlight is when they head uptown, around the 0:30 mark, via the transmogrifying of a Van Gogh painting. Then there's some sort of locomotive in Yankee Stadium, muppets on a bus, and they're all taking pictures of trombone-playing negroes outside of Lenox Lounge. Obviously what gets you in this vid is the realism. That's my city, folks.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

From Norm! ... to Jimmy

Great find by Bill Simmons here, a medley of Norm from Cheers clips.

So via contractual obligation I was compelled to think of the black analogue for "Norm," and I thought maybe JJ from Good Times, a clip of him doing Dy-No-Mite! in all different episodes/scenarios would be appropriate. I couldn't find that, but I discovered this CLASSICALLY HORRIBLE interview between Jimmy Walker and David Letterman :

Wow. I found that to be fairly amazing (young Dave looks very Jimmy Kimmel-ish in that clip). It starts getting good around 2:13 where JJ thanks the crowd for no reason, and you see Dave deciding whether he's going to comment on it. He does, and then it's great from there with another highlight coming at the 3:00 mark, when JJ drops a "regular years-to-drug years" joke about Keith Richards. Another good spot comes at 3:50 when JJ starts the worst perfume joke ever.

This is bad enough that you'd want to give him a pass, just an off night, but here's a recent appearance and he's doing the same schtick:

So now I think I'm obsessed with Jimmy Walker.

To leave on a happier note, here's a Good Times episode with spanish subtitles. Dy-no-mite!

here's Part 2. Great episode dealing with porn and sexism! This makes me want the DVD box set.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Myth of the 'Troubled NBA'

I explore the dissonance between media perception of the "troubled NBA" and its reality as a booming enterprise. Despite its flaws, and in light of the Mitchell Report and rampant PED use in baseball and football, the NBA might best represent the "pure" spirit of American sports/competition.

The Last Pure Sport [EbonyJet]

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Telemarketing Is About The People; It's About Human Spirit

Very amusing video on Manoj, India's elite telemarketer.

My name is Bruce Hess. How have you been on this beautiful 19.52 degree day?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Public Service Anouncement: The State of Kenya

I got this letter yesterday and wanted to share some of the news/thoughts/links/goings on related to the violent chaos and upheaval in Kenya. If so inclined I encourage you to participate by signing the petition linked at the bottom, or contacting one of the two activists mentioned below. Even if not inclined, it's still an opportunity to make a deposit in the bank of good will and karma.

My dear dear friends,

I just thought I'd share the attached letter with you - it's a really clear, honest and passionate piece that was written by my friend Shailja, who is a poet and currently a member of the groups Kenyans for Truth, Peace and Justice.

For those of you who don't know, Kivuitu was the chair of the Electoral Commission of Kenya in the just concluded national elections that have been the country's worst nightmare.

What follows, is my cry for help, ideas, anything. Half the time I feel like I'm losing my mind because I don't even know what my friends think or feel, or where people stand. Before today, I think I was even afraid to ask, but I realize that this is part of the problem right now in Kenya and I want to be a part of the solution - not tomorrow, next year or in 5 years time when the damage is irreversible, but TODAY.

For those of you who are in Kenya, are committed to Truth, Justice and Peace, are wondering what you can do to make a difference, but feel helpless and are not sure where to begin, please let me know. At this point, I personally don't care who supported PNU, ODM, ODM-Kenya, or did not even vote. That's besides the point now. I'm desperate to be with people that are committed to the same values and want to make a difference, in any way they can. The country is in serious crisis and it's going to take many individuals coming together, with the same values and principles to shift things. It's going to take a lot of work and commitment, but I really believe that we can each make a difference. All it takes are powerful ideas, sustained actions and strong networks. I'm only in Kenya for another week or so, but if we can come up with several ideas that can be sustained until justice is restored, that would be great - and this is true for those in the diaspora as well.

We really can't leave it to just a handful of leaders and thousands of poor slum dwellers to fight for freedom and justice. It really disgusts and hurts me that the middle and upper class, myself included, can separate themselves from what is going on, and simply go on with business as usual. What about the millions that don't have this luxury? If I was to share with you the ethnic hate crime messages that are being circulated right now, you'd be shocked and depressed. Just a couple of days ago a group of people were forced to randomly show their I.D.'s in a 'matatu'. One of the men was a Luo and another a Kisii. The matatu driver and conductors then drove them to an undisclosed location right here in Nairobi and ushered them into a blood filled room. The Kisii man was then raped, given a gun and told to shoot the Luo man, or die himself. The Kisii man is now at the Nairobi Women's Hospital being treated at the rape crisis center and undergoing serious therapy to prevent him from committing suicide for having killed an innocent man. This is just one story.

Anyway, if you've read this far - thank you for taking the time. I know we all have different opinions and I believe that we need the space to be able to express them so that we can heal and create enough space to come up with solid ideas for a way out of this mess.

We've got to appeal to the consciousness of the masses. If you've got any ideas you'd like to share, however small, big, radical, pacifist, artistic, scientific, religious, spiritual, musical, or whatever, please let me know. Just as long as it's not a blind call for peace without truth or justice.

In hope, solidarity and commitment.


More Links:
open letter from Asian African poet/playwright Shailja Patel
Petition for Mwai Kibaki to step down

News Links:
Kenyan Opposition Wins a Skirmish
Post Election Chaos [NYT]
Kenya's Crisis [The Nation]

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Involuntary Genius of Tracy Morgan

Tracy Morgan, comedian and celebrity crazy-person, negro edition, nails this pitch-perfect send-up of Jackass.

via: them NK dudes

It's becoming clear that I love a little dysfunction with my artists. I might need to create some sort of Hall of Fame for Dysfunctional Genius-Negroes. R Kelly is an inaugural member. Ol' Dirty Bastard is in there. Some others. Tracy Morgan is working on his stats, but he has a good chance. Even if it's an inadvertent stumbling into a performance, his guest spot here is genius. And I attribute it to Tracy in full. You can not watch this video too many times. Its capacity to entertain is infinite.

"LOVE. It's all love ..."

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Tears Are The Most Powerful Tool In Public Relations

Certainly for sports, where there's "no crying in [insert tough sport here]." Remember when Terrell Owens was a selfish asshole? Well no more after this blubbery performance:

I'm a big fan of this; I'm a cry-baby myself, and think we need more of it in the new millennium. With this breakdown TO may have just cried himself into the Hall of Fame. Awesome.

The Imogen Heap Experience

Wow, this was a nice discovery. I wasn't up on Imogen Heap, but this youtube clip of her making awesome for 103.1 FM (apparently) is pretty cool.

Besides being a wonderful introduction to an artist, I like this clip because it's a great example of the music-making process creating wonderful content. Even if the song isn't your cup of tea, the first couple minutes watching her create something out of nothing are still compelling.

All new artists should be recording video footage of them making their music if at all possible. There's little downside to having the clips to play with, and a little video demo like this might give a track that extra oomph in connecting people with your music. I'm all about Imogen Heap now, and it's because of this clip.

thanks: Lucy

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Internet Does It All

This youtube user just does "fast versions" of songs. The fast version of "Lip Gloss" is embedded below. I love his user profile note: "messge me if you want a music to be fast."

Shirts & Skins: The Fresh Prince of New England

So I'm debuting a new column at AOL Fanhouse this week. It's called "Shirts & Skins" and according to the current tagline it will be a forum for me to make "jokes and sweeping generalizations" while exploring the week in sports from a racistial perspective.

The opening column examines "The Assimilation of Randy Moss" as he got plucked from the ghetto in Oakland and now sits on top of the world in New England. Here's the intro:

One of the NFL's major stories this year could be an American sitcom called the "The Assimilation of Randy Moss."

At the start of the season Moss was a down-and-out malcontent; a tarnished diamond in the rough of the NFL projects known as the Oakland Raiders. Then he gets shipped off to a New England boarding school, shares a room with Captain America Brady, throws on the blazer, button-down shirt, and tie (in J Crew's fall catalogue this look is called The Patriot) and shapes up his act. From there his exponential development could only be properly expressed through video montage.

Now motivated, Moss is putting his abundant tools to good use. Assimilation successful: Touchdown! Still sassy, funny and smart -- but no longer a menace to society -- Randy Moss has become the Will Smith of Wide Receivers. The Fresh Prince of New England...

We pulled this together quickly, and we're still feeling out some of the layout, format, additional features. But it should be fun -- I hope -- and I'm looking forward to seeing how it develops. Feel free to hit me (read: please!) with feedback and story links/tips; together we can rid the universe of racism one blog post/column at a time.


Randy Moss is the Fresh Prince of New England [AOL Fanhouse]

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Fox TV Presents: Call-In Racism

I love the idea that "they" did this on purpose. That's hot. Do black people lose a nickel every time they hear the n-word? I'm gonna look into that ...

via: Stereohyped

Stevie Wonder: Blindingly Funny

Sucky headline? It doesn't matter really, because look: Stevie!

There should be a holiday in Stevie's honor. Seriously. How do we get that started? If it's too gauche to give holidays to individuals now, then let's make it Blind People Day or something. Why not? This feels like it should be setting up some joke. But no jokes. Real life. If you would protest blind people getting a holiday, raise your hand. And if we get a BP Day we might as well make it Stevie Day cause Stevie Wonder, at the least, has to be the greatest blind person ever. Right? Is that naive or ignorant of me to say? Is it not true? Are there other blind A-list talents? It's possible I could be a naive and ignorant blindist. I'm open to that. I'm going by Helen Keller personally, it seems her name still carries a lot of weight. And Stevie's leaps and bounds beyond her, right? But if someone evaluated black people according to some Frederick Douglass metric, I would be a little disappointed in that. So maybe I don't know. But regardless the refererence, the point is that Stevie comes before Keller in the pantheon of important blind people. I mean, dude's doing sketch comedy here. What blind person holds it down like that? I wonder if HK could maintain a strong comedic presence on a show like SNL. I guess that's the beauty of these times, HK would certainly have the tools to do her thing. A hardcore young, talented blind person's blog might be kind of hot. Especially if it were like a female Stevie Wonder type.... Incidentally, I would date a female Stevie Wonder. Just, y'know, FYI ... if you're out there reading this. Or whatever. Feel free to holla.

More Stevie being funny:

via Sports Guy

Monday, January 07, 2008

Religionism Trumps Racism?

Christopher Hitchens in Slate joins in the Obamontificating, suggesting that Barack's victory in Iowa (less the victory itself, more the accompanying hubbub) is not a triumph of race, but a failure of our presumed war against "uplift, and deceptive optimistic windbaggery" ....

I'm with him on the "God Is Not Great" tip, but he throws baby after bathwater when he eschews other aspects of Obama's import on racial politics to highlight our collective blind spot for black people with sketchy church affiliations. (can I get an amen!) Suggesting that going to this church makes Obama Al Sharpton with a proper haircut? Eh. Some good points are made, but they all suspiciously direct to his book.

Anyrace, I'm surely out of my depth, but do think I prefer "optimistic windbags" over "drunken-grump windbags." Hmm, actually that's not true. But I still want to stand up for positive people, cause they give us drunken-grumps something to complain about. Yay! I mean, hrrumph!

Identity Crisis [Slate]

How To Blog: Slavery Amusement Park

Wanna blog like a pro? Let TAN show you how!

Step #1: Find an interesting piece of news; for example this article on an apparent Slavery Amusement Park.

Step #2: Find an angle/spin that connects the news with your particular niche/audience (don't forget to sprinkle in the smart/funny!):

Gawker/Vulture/Wired set: Rabid fans of The Wire looking to up the ante on Understanding Black People, and in need of more than a weekly fix of the drug known only as "Black Meth [odology?]" (also available in: Hip Hop, Def Comedy Jam, Obama???) might want to invest in this Haitian theme park that will allow tourists to "play the part of a slave for 12 hours" ....

Jezebel/Glamour/Bust: No mention of the Rape Romper Room in the plans for this Haitian-based American-owned Slavery Theme Park; gawd, looks like we can't get an authentic female perspective even when we re-enact historical tragedy/genocide ... whatever, it's all men's fault anyway!

Perez/TMZ/Star: OMG OMG! We've found the new must-do activity for Shitney Spears/Lindsey Hohan/Paris Hilton (PH is ok in my book), and they're totesies gonna LUV IT. Slavery Re-enactment! For a day! In Haiti!! It's like going to jail, but hardcorer .... we give this idea 4 Unwanted Spears Babies out of 5

Step #3: Link your sources.

'Slave for a day' event []

(if you found the news on competitor blogs, make their link smaller)
via: Stereohyped and Racialicious

Baseball Has Steroids, Hip Hop Has Weed

So I was on this GZA/50 Cent beat hoping for a little old school battle to pop off, no such luck apparently. But I did find this blurb on GZA quitting weed and talking about its effect on him:

“I could have done so much more in the past,” he says. “I’d get up, roll a blunt at seven in the morning. If I played chess online, I wanted a blunt. If I read a book, I would smoke a blunt, and then I’m reading the same page like five times.”

While GZA smoking a lot doesn't come as any shock, it does take some luster off one of the legends of the game. GZA was always the hardcore street-intelligence emcee in the Wu, and while he's still a first-ballot hip hop Hall of Famer, somehow I think this news, and specifically his own sense of regret about it, cheapens the value of his catalog a little. It does feel a little like finding one of your fav players was on steroids, in an era when everyone was on steroids.

I also think there are seeds for a real story here. Consider this recent e-snippet I got from TAN3:

By the way, I gotta tell you about a concert I went to this past week - Nas at the Hammerstein. You know I love me some Nas - but this n*gga is ridiculous - he couldn't remember his own lyrics!!! I'll give the full recap later...

I see this as a tipping point for judgment on Nas, cause he's notorious for dropping lyrics -- even skipping lines on Made You Look on the grand public stage of the MTV awards a few years back -- and at this point it's obviously from weed abuse. For hip hop heads, Nas and GZA are in the same school, art via lyricism, and their inability to step their game up to a higher level (neither was able to make an album/big project that matched the genius displayed on an individual song level) might need further examination in light of this weed referendum of sorts.

You take GZA, Nas, and say, Redman. Maybe Meth also. And talk to them about the varying dynamics weed has on their life and art. Presuming their candor on the subject (and at this point their reps are entrenched, and they'd have little to lose), that's gonna be an interesting piece.

Maybe I'll look into it ....

In the meantime, this weed PSA is even funnier if you imagine the dog talking to GZA or Nas.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Please read my demo ...

NY Times provides more evidence on the blogging's the new rapping front ... more bloggers will surely be providing us their version of mixtapes.

I'm A Part-Time Blogger And A Full-Time Friend

Every time I think I'm just gonna be "black" and that's that, caucasians up and do something that pulls me back in and makes me love them all over again. Of my own free will even! ... I think. This time it was the movie Juno. Like the reviews say, it's smart, with heart and all that. And it has a quintessentially hipster-y soundtrack that's cute and oh-so-apropos, but black people over 25 can't listen to except behind closed doors, with headphones, and a gun to shoot yourself before They get you. It's no Eternal Sunshine; it's smart but not as clever, and as far as love stories go I prefer those that focus on the couple and not with forcing kids and preggerdom down my throat. That's where I am in my life. Knahmean, ladies?

The cast is all caucasianed out for the most part (not that there's anything wrong with that!), so it's also a good sample of young white intellect. Any minorities working corporate or creative should see it just for the schmoozing touchpoints. "Heeeeey Bexy. Juno? Yeah, just saw it! OMG, huh?? It took me like 45 minutes to start *getting* the dialogue, but soooo funny. That Ellen Page. I think she's gonna be a good one." Here's a clip of the theme song live, with the anti-folk group The Moldy Peaches, and then the trailer for the movie. Go see it!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Melting Pot Without The Melting

So this summer I helped out the lovely Rachel Natalie Klein with an interview for IntoTheBox; Rachel does daily videos about NYC real estate themes, stories, issues, and my episode was called "The Manhattan Race Card" and themed around gentrification and neighborhood segregation in Manhattan/NYC.

At the end of the year she ran a Top 10 videos of the year, and 'gro-and-behold Race and Segregation and TAN win again! (#1 video bidges, I told y'all TAN moves units!)

When I first posted the video, I didn't really dig into the issue much. And honestly, gentrification is so HUGE there's really no way to cover your bases in a blog post. But some of the comments in their "And the winner is ..." post are interesting. Here are some quotes:

"well before the "mass exodus" of black people from the city we still were segregated. affordability aside, i'd live in harlem over any other neighborhood in the city."

"Interesting, however it doesn't mesh with my reality.... Maybe poorer or lower-middle class AfAms might be vacating the city due to price of housing and costs of living (really people your food and other stuff is expensive), but better off Blacks are not as sensitive to those matters. What may be needed is the growth and strengthening of the AfroAm middle & upper-middle class. If you want a stabilized population, the people need to own their studio apts, houses, land, etc."

"black people are being FORCED OUT. landlords are seeing the dollars and benefit in harrassing and forcing blacks out of their homes. it. something like ethnic cleansing."

"Whites looking for cheaper rents move into traditionally Black areas like the bronx are the problem. They are are contributing to the destruction of black culture and removal of the long time black residents."

"New York is one of the most segregated cities in the US. Most non-New Yorkers don't know that. I grew up in the East Bronx and after Co-op City opened*, I wasn't around whites until I entered high school, approx ten years later.....The Bronx was very Jewish. There was a very active synagogue across the street from the apt building where I grew up. It's now a regular store. There were Hebrew schools, stores, etc. all over the place. Going there now, unless you know where to look, you would never know."

"many of you need to cut the BS... where lower income blacks go, all hell follows... they destroy everything in their path - most notably themselves - and you'd have to be absolutely insane to want to live among them... I did it for three years in North Philly... i'm now in in NY and I'll never, ever, live in a lower income urban black neighborhood again... and it IS NOT because of the color of anyone's skin, I don't believe in any inherent racial "Defects", it's because of many socio-cultural reasons that I don't even comprehend fully... but I think I speak for a vast majority of non-racist whites when I say - i don't really care - I'm sick of hearing it... as much as the "white man" may be to blame to an extent, that song & dance is overshadowed by apathy, laziness, a disgusting sense of entitlement, and a sheer lack of any morality or humanity... get your sh*t together..."

Some good fodder there (and it never fails that someone will pull the "personal responsibility" card and soft-shoe around "many socio-cultural reasons" in discussions like this). In the video I echo some of the points I made for Time Out New York's Race Issue; basically saying we shouldn't see segregation as an inherently bad thing, differences should be embraced and cultivated. And Rachel closes asking: Are you a part of the most culturally diverse cities on the planet, or one of the most segregated?

The answer is both. But what does that mean, or why does it matter? I don't know for sure, but I do think this video commanding interest, and the stats related to the homogenizing of Manhattan mean that race and the exploring of "many socio-cultural reasons I don't comprehend fully" remains extremely important. And where better to start/continue mining this terrain than NYC?

That's all from me for now. Rachel and I will be working on a follow-up video soon, and I'm all into exploring dating/relationship stuff now so expect another hot seller tied to interracial love or some such thing. Just need to conduct more research on the subject .... *cough*

Here's to more TAN-homeys making paper and moving into the city in the '08.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

You Can Not Pass Out Around White People

So I was going to write about my NYE "Party Crash" style, because it was a quintessentially TAN evening with both a caucasian party and a negro party on the docket. And honestly, on Sunday my cloudy brain was absolutely flummoxed by the black/white partying dichotomy.

But I don't have time to flesh it out, and the negro party is largely irrelevant, only serving as racial contrast and control to what I'm really curious about: what is going on with white people at parties?

In lieu of the Party Crash, I offer Dave Chappelle's analysis:

But seriously folks. I would have thought those stereotypes expired once I got out of college, but peep this NYE aftermath written by the hostess of a party I went to in Williamsburg. That's definitely some ass-meet-carrot ish right there. And seriously? Wine on the walls and the autographed Dolly Parton poster? A hole in the wall?? Tampons on the couch??? Who does this? As an assimilated negress friend of mine said when I shared the story, "black people of the same socio-economic/education level would NEVER do that."

And she makes a good point, because you want to say it's just some entitled ish, but no. Black people get to' up and will do some drunken nonsense, but never no carrot-in-your-ass like this. It's like this ilk of white people were raised by animals. Can someone please explain this phenomenon?

The flip side of this is the aftermath itself. This girl got Paypal donate links and ish, and still manages to say Happy New Year to folks. As far as I'm concerned the scene in those pics is WAY beyond Paypal. Like Dave says in the clip, this type of behavior is a DEATH SENTENCE on the street. If someone got red wine on my autographed GZA poster, it's A WRAP for them. I would most certainly be hunting hipster in Williamsburg right this very moment. Fuck carrots!
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